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Effect of Covid-19 on global temperature

Date: 12 August 2020 Tags: Climate Change

Issue

 A study published in Nature Climate Change has analysed global emissions reductions from February-June 2020 and made a prediction of the change in global temperatures.

 

Background

It is well known that Covid-19 enforced lockdowns in several countries has led to a dip in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollution.

 

Details

  • The researchers said a reduction in GHG emissions and air pollutants was observed as countries started imposing lockdowns on their residents and restricting their movement.

  • They maintained that a drop in mobility of about 10 percent was observed in all but one among the 125 countries tracked by them. They observed a mobility reduction of as much as 80 percent in five or more nations.

  • Mobility data from Google and Apple points out that more than 50 percent of the world’s population reduced travel by more than half during April 2020.

  • In fact, Google mobility trends indicate that more than 80 percent of the population in 114 countries (approximately 4 billion people) reduced their travel by more than 50 percent.

  • Researchers claimed that the dip is expected to be temporary since pollution levels are already returning back to normal levels in many parts of Asia.

  • Considering that social distancing measures will be the new normal for another two years, the researchers assume that decrease in emissions may remain at about 66 percent of their June 2020 levels by the end of 2021.

  • While Covid-19 lockdowns cleaned up the air as a plethora of economic activities were brought to a standstill, pollution from ozone shot up during this time. This is because ozone pollution is known to increase in the warmer months and builds up in cleaner areas.

  • A decline in nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels by as much as 30 percent will contribute to a short-term cooling of up to 0.01 degrees Celsius over the period 2020-2025 almost exclusively from reductions in tropospheric ozone.

  • But overall, the effect of the immediate Covid-19 related restrictions is close to negligible and lasting effects, if any, will only arise from the recovery strategy adopted in the medium term.

  • One limitation is of how representative this data is of wider national behaviour, since the usage and penetration of phones will vary across countries and regions.

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